The last decade has seen yoga experience the biggest boom yet, within its six thousand year practice. New studios are cropping up all over major cities, regional areas and even small towns, and more and more people are leaving their hectic lives behind to train as professional yoga instructors.
All of these teachers were once beginners in yoga too, and over time felt so strongly about the never-ending benefits of this craft that they decided to turn their hobby into their lifeblood by spreading the practice of yoga as a qualified instructor.
As everyone is different and has unique needs, it’s important you know what to look for when choosing the right Yogi for you.
Are they qualified?
It may seem like a silly question to ask, but you would never go to an unqualified GP, psychologist or chiropractor, so why would you go to an unqualified or even under-qualified yoga teacher? Most serious yoga schools will have a website where they have an ‘About Us’ page, listing their teachers, the variations of yoga they specialise in, and their qualifications, i.e. how long they have trained for, and with whom.
They may have studied their discipline within Australia or even overseas, but should be a registered yoga teacher here and have at least a number of years (if not decades) of experience. The ancient Yogis in India spent their entire life honing their skills, and you should expect a detailed history from your teacher too.
Do they engage with their students?
You will probably need to test out a few different yoga classes to determine the answer to this – especially if you are a beginner who isn’t sure what to expect.
A yoga teacher who is engaged with the class will take the time during slow flow repetitions, or longer pose holds to make their way around the studio and help improve the technique of those who are struggling or don’t have their pose quite right. They will also always make themselves available for questions from students at the conclusion of a class and won’t run out the door. A yoga class is a safe space where you should feel completely comfortable asking for assistance and leave feeling positive and eagerly awaiting your next session.
Even if the first teacher you have doesn’t feel like the perfect fit for you, many yoga studios have a number of different instructors who teach different classes. This means that even if you find the perfect local studio, you don’t necessarily have to move elsewhere. Instead, check out their class timetable for a different session, which should list the teacher instructing the class. Who knows? The next teacher could be the ideal match and yoga mentor for you.